How is gall bladder affected by the Paleo diet. I am new have plunged full tilt into paleo and have pain in my lower left abdomen just below my lungs after meals
asked byDoris (1227)
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on August 11, 2010
at 07:31 PM
Your gallbladder is on your lower RIGHT side, unless you have some physical anomaly. However, the pain normally associated with gallstones is higher, often just below the sternum and radiating through the back. Often, some labored breathing is observed. That is a general statement, though. While gallbladder pain isn't normally felt at the location you cite, only a doctor can tell you whether that is your problem or your problem is different.
I don't know your stats, but the typical gall bladder patient has the five "F"s. Fat, female, forty, fertile and fair (complected). Obviously, there are men who have it, people who have never had children, people younger or older than forty. That is just a general rule.
I had my gallbladder out some 34 years ago (the surgery involved some time spent cleaning out the bile duct because it was obstructed). It took about a year for me to be able to digest fat again and since then I honestly can't tell the difference.
That doesn't mean, of course, that a person should jump on the operating table at the first sign of gallstones. I certainly didn't, but I will also honestly say that it was so far, the worst pain I have ever had (the attacks, not the recovery from surgery). Labor and delivery don't even come close.
I definitely think you should have this checked out, but be prepared to find out that there is a different issue. My vote goes to waste matter rounding the bend of your large intestine (just a guess). That can be surprisingly painful, and could be precipitated by the meal causing contractions of your intestines.
on August 11, 2010
at 03:33 PM
When you eat fat, the gallbladder squeezes out bile to deal with it. If you have a problem in your gallbladder, you will often feel it after you eat fat because that is when the gallbladder is called upon to do its job. Sometimes, pain in the gallbladder area can also signify problems in the ducts leading to or from the gallbladder or even from nearby organs. If you have pain there, you need to see a doctor who will xray the gallbladder to see if you have stones built up in there. It takes a while to build up stones so if you just started paleo, they were already there before you started. Instead of stones, some people have a problem where the gallbladder does not squeeze well and so is not effective. Seems like lately, doctors are happy to pull out your gallbladder instead of attempting to treat the problem, perhaps because they don't understand how to treat it well. SOme people do fine after gallbladder removal but some people find that pain and problems continue even after removal, showing that the problem is apparently not always in the gallbladder in the first place or that removal can create its own set of similar problems in some people.
As far as a personal story, my coworker had gall bladder pain on and off for 10 years. For many years, he thought it was just a bad back, until slowly he figured out that after certain meals, he would get the pain. Sometimes the pain would stay for weeks! He described it to his doctor who said that was gallbladder pain. The first thing my friend tried was to go on a low fat vegetarian diet. He felt no pain for several months but then the pain came back with a vengence. What happens if you avoid fat altogether is that if the bile in the galllbadder is not used, then it sits in the gallbladder and slowly thickens with time, and this also can cause problems including increased gallbladder stone formation. So avoidance of fat can help with the pain short term, but sometimes causes long term problems. Unfortunately, they don't seem to really understand the exact way it works though.
PLus the vegetarian diet caused his triglycerides to go through the roof thanx to all the grain, sugar, and starch he was eating. Plus he was gaining weight fast. Perhaps being fairly desperate by then, shaken by his new high trig count and the return of the gallbladder pain, as well as hit with a barage of info from me and a good nutritionist who happened to be visiting at that time, he next decided to try a paleo/lowcarb type of eating. My friend once knew a person who had her gallbladder out and she had digestive problems for the rest of her life so he was really scared to have his out and was willing to work hard to avoid it!
Anyway, so since he started the more paleo diet, weight was lost quickly and no gallbladder pain for about 6 months now. I tell him to eat fat and he says he does now with no pain. I know he likes bacon and cheese as I think most of us do! The docs also did an xray on his gallbladder and found no stones, so it's hard to say what exactly was causing the pain in the first place. But what that means is if there are no dangerous stones and no painful symptoms anymore, then the docs will not want to remove the gallbladder. Yeah! I feel that paleo saved his gallbladder so I am very happy about that.
However, the specific problem he had, of which we are not sure in the first place, may not be the problem others have. Like if there are stones in the gallbladder, it may not be so simple. I only know that paleo eating helped my one friend, n=1, with his specific gallbladder problem, of which we know little other than it went away. I can't say if it will help for all related problems. However, I can say that in the literature, I have seen it mentioned that among the long list of things associated with development of gallbladder problems is a high carbohydrate diet. No surprise there for us paleos. The big question is if stones or gallbladder problems already exist, thereby interfering with digestion of fat, will it be possible to still eat much fat without pain while on paleo? Can paleo cure other gallbladder probs? This is unknown. -Eva
on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM
Coconut oil may help with gall bladder problems / gallstones - at least according to
on December 14, 2011
at 09:45 PM
I had my gall bladder removed 2 years ago. I have been in menopause for 4 years. I switched to a paleo diet 8 months ago. I went to the naturopath for treatment for ongoing hot flashes only to be told that I wasn't having menopausal hot flashes. The problem was my body's inability to digest animal fats as a result of losing my gall bladder. The liver cannot take on the whole load and, having switched to a paleo diet, it exacerbated the problem. The doctor described it as an overheated liver which was producing excess heat in my body.I was given two supplements to take, twice a day which would provide my body with the enzymes no longer being produced by the missing gall bladder. I point this out for all the paleos without a gall bladder.